Steve Jobs Essay Example. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently...” (Jobs) I listened to these words pounding in my ear with chirps of laughter and chatter from around the room. I felt as though I had woken up as I came to the same realization as my inspiration, Steve Jobs, did back in 1975 at the birth of Apple Computers. This quickly became one of my favorite quotes as it embodies Jobs’s resistance to conformity and showed me, an amateur engineer, that solutions often lie outside one's comfort zone. I was in my junior year English class when I finished the audio version of Walter Isaacson's book Steve Jobs, a book dedicated to capturing the life and genius of the great Steve Jobs. This book goes into the genesis and evolution of Apple but what had a profound impact on me was the underlying philosophy of the man behind it all.
What the Book Reveals
I realized in reading this book that there is a fundamental difference in how visionaries see the world. For instance, the mass of humanity sees with a lens of fear when they are confronted with the idea of starting a company, but what Jobs saw was that, especially when you are young, there is no risk. When Jobs was 21, he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple computers out of the Jobs’ family garage. How did they fund their venture? Wozniak sold his scientific calculator and Jobs sold his car. They had both dropped out of college and, truly, had nothing to lose. When you are young you do not have the responsibilities of when you get older. You have no family, no house, and no obligations to anyone.
The potential is limitless and even if you did fail, the experience would be worth 10x more than the few assets you lost. This is what Jobs saw while millions of other people took the “safe” route. With comes a conformist mentality. As we grow up we are told that life is this thing we go through. That we will grow up, get a job, have some fun, save some money, and that life is what it is and we can't change it. It is easy to see life as a hallway, we should avoid running into the walls and conform to the bounds of society. What Steve Jobs showed me is that life isn't like a hallway, but a ball of clay. With enough work, you can shape and mold the world into whatever you want.
One of the most important things this book taught me was to love what I do. Steve said that he would get up every morning and look in the mirror and ask himself “if today was the last day of my life, would I still be doing what I'm doing today?” and if the answer was no for too many days in a row, he knew he had to change something. I try to live by this every day. Life is too short to chase the mirage of material wealth. I agree with Mark Twain and I've come to believe that the fear of death comes from a fear of life. While people often face the daunting idea of death, if one lives their life to the fullest they have nothing to fear. This idea is personified with the elderly. When senior citizens are asked to reflect on their life, I've always found that their regrets regard things they didn't do, never to things they haven't done. It taught me that my life has no room for dogma and to avoid taking other people's opinions without thinking for myself.
The Inspiration I Got
Additionally, as an aspiring engineer myself, his attitude toward design has inspired me to do some of my best work. One view he held was to design for yourself. When Jobs and Wozniak created their first personal computer, they didn't do it to fill a niche, upcoming market to capitalize on the growth of the industry. They built the computer for themselves. When you make something for yourself, you put far more passion into how it works than if it is intended for someone else. There are several instances throughout the book where Jobs makes decisions in spite of the bottom line and works to make Apple computers perfect. This just amplified my urge to strive for perfection and create products that I would be proud of.
The second idea that influenced me is the pride he found in his products. In the book, Jobs compares the design of an Apple computer to a carpenter working on a dresser. He points out that a carpenter wouldn’t make a grand hickory dresser with plywood backing. I immediately saw positive feedback from some of the projects I was working on that I had not seen before. One example would be my senior project to build a mousetrap car. The idea behind a mousetrap car is to use the spring force of a mousetrap and turn it into kinetic energy to move a vehicle.
My project was especially difficult as my car had to push a cup forward, drive backward, turning and stopping along with other various design constraints. After several months of designing, testing and troubleshooting, I managed to achieve first place in the mousetrap car event during the Oklahoma Science Olympiad tournament. At a tournament like this, there isn't much separating the top few contenders. I believe what puts my car ahead was the little, “unimportant” parts that most participants don't think about. It is easy to get 95% of the way there. What is not easy is that last 5% that put my car over the top and what made Apple, arguably, the most revolutionary company in the last century.
On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to pancreatic cancer. Although he is gone, his genius has not. Steve didn't only put a ding in the universe, but also the lives of me and millions of other aspiring creators around the world. It is a shame that I did not have the chance to meet him in person, I will never forget the lessons he taught me.“...and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Jobs)